Retirees Association

DDN: Student debt still higher in Ohio than many other states

Student biking on campus

Excerpt from the Dayton Daily News

Local college graduates have more debt than those in many other states, despite Ohio’s college tuition increasing at slower rates.

The average student who graduated from an Ohio college or university in 2019 had $30,629 in debt, according to a WalletHub study. That’s $278 more than a 2018 graduate and a nearly 5.5 percent increase from the $29,037 five years ago.

It’s also the 17th highest in the nation, according to Wallet Hub. As a percent of average state income, Ohio graduates are the eighth most in debt.

“The fact that the system is so messed up that people have to have these conversations of I either go to school or it’s too much money, is just sort of messed up a little bit,” said Gabe Debiasi, a 2018 graduate of Miami University.

Debiasi said he was lucky to only graduate with a few thousand dollars of debt, which he credits to scholarships, dual enrollment classes while in high school and finishing a full year early.

Ohio’s average tuition at a public university was $10,790 during the last academic year, according to the national College Board, the 18th highest of all states. But it has historically been one of the most expensive, said Bruce Johnson, president of the Inter-University Council of Ohio.

The Great Recession led to major cuts in state funding for higher education, especially in Ohio, both in subsidies to colleges and in aid directly to students. Both types of aid still haven’t returned to pre-2009 levels, Johnson said. Ohio’s recovery from the recession has been slower, so the state’s funding has also been slower to return than in other states, he said.